Last September I wrote an angry piece on Blogspot.
That rather Orwellian title hides a great deal of inhumanity. Take a scenario I heard yesterday. You have a serious chronic illness, and despite surviving things that would kill most people, you, because you really are a person who rejects “bludging”, have worked on in an area under state government control which deals with health issues not dissimilar to your own. You work hard, and achieve much of value. This in fact assists in your survival and prevents your being a drain on the public purse. But the time comes when the state government agency you work for deems the time has come for you to severely cut back, or stop working, as there are health and safety issues to be considered. So you go to the federal government’s Department of Human Services Centrelink, explain the situation, expecting some assistance as you are far from well and have not chosen to be unemployed.
So what does Centrelink do? They tell you you must go on unemployment benefits and “work for the dole” — mutual obligation, you see? This despite the fact that you went to Centrelink in the first place because you are not well enough to work.
Have you ever heard anything more Catch-22, more tight-arsed?
I can now reveal that Lord Malcolm was the person in that scenario: you may read what is wrong with him on that link.
Now, guess what! On approaching Centrelink after almost two months in hospital, and well aware that his prognosis is not good, and having been asked by the Department of Housing why he is not on a pension, Lord Malcolm approached “Human Services” again — and got the same reply.
Yesterday The Poet told me over lunch at The Shakespeare Hotel in Surry Hills that he knows of a person diagnosed with terminal cancer who got the same answer when he applied for sickness benefits. “That’s life in Howard’s Australia,” said The Poet.
Don’t you think this sucks?
Tomorrow Lord Malcolm is having his 50th birthday bash at The Dolphin. But he is just 49. So why the party? Because he knows he had better have it this year, as next year…
There is good news though. A problem with the Housing Department has resolved beautifully, and on his birthday too. 🙂